Cowra Festival of International Understanding Opening Ceremony

The ringing of Australia’s World Peace Bell marked the official opening of the Cowra Festival of International Understanding on the 8th of March in rural New South Wales.

The Peace Ceremony, attended by 200 Cowra residents, featured the handing over of the festival baton, dance and choir performances, a reading of the United Nations Charter Preamble and a parade of flags of previous guest nations.

The small country town of Cowra has celebrated international cooperation and understanding for 50 years with the annual festival and has themed their anniversary year, the United Nations.

In recognition of past guest nations, primary school students participated in a parade of flags and the town Mayor, Bill West thanked the Sri Lanka High Commission for their participation last year.

The High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia, His Excellency Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, handed the festival baton to UNIC Canberra Director, Mr Christopher Woodthorpe.

Mr Woodthorpe spoke at the event about the common message and commitment the United Nations shares with the Festival, that of of tolerance and understanding in order to achieve a world of peace and prosperity for all.

“Each year as our Peace Bells ring out to mark the International Day of Peace we are connected, and the same clear message of hope rings out as loud in Cowra as it does from the United Nations Building in New York”.

Margret Britton of the Australian Chapter of the World Peace Bell Association spoke at the event about the significance and history of the Cowra Peace Bell and primary school student, Katie Brown delivered a speech on forgiveness.